Translated by Diana Der-Hovanessian
Misak Medzarents was born in Akn in 1888 and died of tuberculosis at 22. He and Vahan Derian are the two most musical poets in Armenian literature and are, therefore, the most daunting to translate. Diana Der-Hovanessian, an American-born poet, has translated their work, she says, “with trepidation and admiration.” Variations of the poems appeared in Anthology of Armenian Poetry (Columbia U. Press) and the Derian poems were in Coming To Terms, published by Ashod Press.
Like a girl in saffron walking under pine trees,
like a girl where the evening breeze blows
toward the flowering pomegranate grove
the dusk is passing and the day slowly goes.
Twilight falls, like sweet wilting iris
in varying shades of blue, it goes,
slowly dying, folding itself over|
a thin stamen of hope, the light flows.
Then it is dark, like my soul left alone,
the soul that has been so long in the dark
where the light of dreams fled long ago
leaving it, my soul, in the rain, looking for home.
Affectionate winds light up the blossoms
around me, making a festival
tiny lanterns of light.
This night is a feast of luminous roads.
With sweet balsam, with sweet hashish
the winds make me drunk tonight.
Sweet flower kisses fill the air
with perfumed petals and seeds
…a surfeit of everything except|
the one and only kiss I need.
THIS HOUR WITH YOU
If I could keep, could keep
this hour forever as a part of me,
and distill, distill this hour
as the essence of harmony;
if I could feel the way I do
this hour, all my life,
benign, bemused and blessed
as I am here with you
and then could write and share
the beauty of this hour
I could wash my life clean
and scoured of every care.